I have installed stair treads in Sapele (dark wood with definite reddish tinge) but now realize this clashes badly with the coffee coloured bamboo floor and the oak doors of the hallway where the stairs are. The floors are pre-finished so I don't have an option to change their colour. The oak is paler than the floor but doesn't clash with it, as both woods are a warm brown without the red tinge. So I would like to change the stairs colour to something close to the floor... mostly it needs to be yellow-er and no darker than it now is ...but how?

The Sapele has been oiled (Colron Jacobean dark oak Dye and then a top coat of linseed oil) and I think the wood would absorb more, but the red still shows through. Can I just apply a paler oil-based dye (say a golden oak colour)? Should I try removing the previous layers of oil with turpentine first? Or somehow 'bleach' the wood? If that wouldn't work, would a wood stain hide the dark red undertone?... Can stain go over oil and will stained wood treads withstand the wear and tear? I don't have Sapele wood scraps, so I can work by trial and error only if the errors can be undone... or should I go buy some Sapele before I start? Any suggestions welcome. Many thanks in advance.

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    Basic color theory - you can't cover color, you have to cancel it. You need a green toned stain/oil. Also test on a spare stair that is not installed. – Russell Steen Oct 24 '13 at 15:59

I know this is way after the fact but if you want to brown up wood a cool method is to use Potasium Dichromate (Bichromate of Potash if your an old timey cabinet maker). Its a water soluble mineral that reacts with the tannin in the wood and accelerates the natural aging process. It won't eliminate the red completely but it makes it more of a brown tone and much, much darker. Its pretty safe to work with as a liquid but avoid inhaling the dust because its fairly carcinogenic.

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